Thursday, February 20, 2020

one month in west africa

today marks one month. it hasn't been an easy, but we're good and things are looking up!

out of tears
emotions have been all over the place.  not gonna lie, we spent the first couple weeks crying a lot!  not only was the situation here pretty hard, but we couldn't stop thinking of our kids. each of them (and new son-in-laws) are in new/different seasons of their lives, and we wanted to be close to all of them.  we're also missing the friends and fam that we deeply enjoyed during our year stateside. 

while we knew God was bringing that sweet season to a close, we felt pretty miserable for a while once reality actually set in.

on top of that, no running water, no AC, a rough apartment, no language skills - and no clue what to do about any of it - left us struggling for sure.  thankfully much of that eventually got dealt with, and we began settling in. 

where's our meter?
for the most part, we didn't have running water for our first 5 days here. we finally were able to get a cistern and water pump installed and we thought our major water problems were over. until 2 days ago... when the water company came and took our water meter (literally cut the pipe and removed it!).  they shut us off, saying the bill in this apartment hadn't been paid in 5 years. 5 years?!  (of course i only figured all of this out after numerous trips up and down the stairs, calling translators, and finally sitting with our security guard navigating google translate.)  and i still wasn't positive! lol.  

so...  another couple days without water, borrowing from nice neighbors, etc... but praise God it all got sorted out quickly and we got the meter returned.  thank you Jesus.

je ne parle pas frances
french class is hard, but its been good. we are enjoying our teachers and classmates. it's 4.5 hours per day - so definitely information overload! it's a totally different method than we did with spanish, but really interesting. instead of using a book, curriculum, learning conjugations and memorizing verbs, the first 100-150 hours is only listening.  then you start to listen and repeat - similar to recreating how a baby/child learns their native tongue

phase 2 then gets into speaking and forming sentences, etc, but still no reading or academic learning. it's called the GPA approach for language acquisition.  anyway, we are learning... petit a petit... :)

luci happier than ever
one of the most incredible things about this move is how much luci LOVES it here. her joy hasn't dipped at all since we arrived. hasn't cried once. hasn't complained once. its all God. otherwise it makes no sense. we left her sisters, brother, mimi and papa, all family and friends...  and she is the happiest we've ever seen her.  we praise God for this EVERY DAY. honestly, if she were miserable, crying coming home from school, etc - on top of everything else - i don't know if i could do it.

wonder woman
my wife is incredible.  she always toughens up and says "yes" to whatever God has for us, whatever the cost. and she's always willing to follow me as i follow Christ.

this last month has been spiritual "game on"... and my wife is a gamer!  my heart smiles as she dives in... struggling to get a taxi, shop the markets, and read food labels.  she's a totally different person than when we did this 12 years ago in guatemala.

just like then, her world has been turned upside down.  her friends, family and comforts of home stripped away. a true woman of God, she leans into Him fully, and He sustains her joy.  up early every morning spending sweet time with Jesus, she gets refilled by the Living Water.  i'm so proud to be the husband of this amazing woman. 

grateful for bigger reasons
i am truly grateful. not only do we get to "pioneer" another academy and remain committed to the call to the unreached people group we've been called to... but God is also reminding us how hard mission work is - especially in the beginning.

which reminds us how important "missionary care" is.  it was a big topic of conversation for us while we were stateside, and its being reinforced during this tough season.  we want to be good at taking care of our missionaries. we don't want them to get so overwhelmed that they quit.  we want them to endure over the long-term.  a soft landing in the field is helpful, not like the one we're dealing with now. we want them to feel supported, cared for, have a team, and ideally a community.

the wehmeyer's will be joining us here late this summer. we're thankful that we'll have some basic things sorted out by the time they get here. it will be a softer landing for them and their 2 little babies.

most of all, its good to suffer for a while 
i'm not claiming to be suffering in any mighty way.  but its good for me to be humbled.  its a blessing to be uncomfortable.  

and its good for us to be the "newbies" again.  wandering aimless and clueless, and sounding like 2-years olds when we talk. 

its good (even though i hate it) to feel scared for my family's safety, nervous to run a simple errand, dirty and sweaty all the time, and feeling helpless and intimidated in basic situations. 

it strips me of my rights and exposes my control issues. it reveals the needy, and smug, american in me.  it illuminates my sin. ultimately forcing my full dependence on Jesus.  

it helps me die to myself, probably the most underrated and disobeyed command of Christ. 

its a painful process, but i am so thankful for it.  it sharpens me, making me a better warrior for the kingdom.  not to mention better husband, father, and man.  but best of all it leads to deep sanctification and intimacy with God.

my morning abiding (time with Jesus, in the bible, in prayer, and in worship) has been sweeter than ever this last month. when i abide well, He puts it all in perspective. 

times like these can easily be mistaken for the worst days (flesh perspective) when in reality they are the best days of my life (kingdom perspective).  

1 peter 5:10, romans 5:3-5


Unknown said...

Thank you for the vulnerability of this letter. Praying for you all both stateside and in Africa. To God be the glory!!

Gina Schmidt said...

Love you guys.
Thank you for putting into the words the personal challenge and joys of starting over again. I'm so very happy to hear about Luci and glad you and Kerrie weathered the rough first month able to see God's faithfulness in calling his children into deep reliance on him.

brock said...

thank you Mary for the prayers! yes, all glory to our King!

brock said...

thank you Gina. love and miss you guys so much!

Unknown said...

This does put things in perspective, so that we see and hear about your struggles AND reflecting on how easy it is for us in the states. Humbles us to go to God and reveals our fleshly weaknesses and sin. Praying for you all!

Chad said...

First Peter 5:10 baby! I love it. I hurt for you all but I love it. Praise God for the pain. We live in too much excess. Too much comfort. Too much self-sufficiency. We don't have enough "access" to desperation. That sounds crazy. But it's true. You all inspire us. Let's all get on our knees. Love you much

Melissa Wittman said...

Thank you for the update! I smiled so big reading about Lucy; how sweet of God to give her joy in the midst of so much change. I love your sweet family and am continually challenged by the example you set for all of us! Praying blessings, strength, and continued joy and encouragement and that so many will come to know our Savior from these small beginnings!

Josh Kimball said...

Thank you brother for sharing the real story. The real hardship and real joy of following Christ’s call and not trying to fit it neatly into your life. Thank you for taking the time in the midst of all your adjusting to to communicate the reality of what your family is experiencing while I sit on my couch in my temperature controlled house with plenty of electricity and running water, and a fridge full of food. Thank you for helping me not be comfortable with comfort and crave Jesus wherever that leads.

Love y’all. We may not be there but we’re with you!

George said...

Wow. Thanks for your vulnerability bro. I am so grateful for Luci's transition. When it's dark, know that we're praying for you. It is SO EASY to get comfortable. We super love and miss you guys.

brock said...

Chad! Melissa! Josh! George! love and miss you all so much! thanks for sharing your thoughts and for encouraging ME. i appreciate all of you, and cherish your prayers. THANK YOU!

Unknown said...

We are thankful to hear an update from you guys and continue to keep you all in our prayers! So glad that you are beginning to settle in a little and that Luci is loving it. That's an answer to prayer for sure! We are asking God to continue opening doors for you as you learn an entirely new culture, language and way of life.